A man who attacked his gay roomate with a hammer as he slept at their apartment in Kent has been sentenced to 14 years in jail.
Connor Huntley, 18, was found alive on his blood-spattered airbed in May last year but with the claw hammer embedded in his head. It was his first night at the apartment.
His attacker, Joseph Williams, 21, was unanimously convicted by the jury and will be held in a psychiatric unit. He gave no reason for the attack and denied attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He said his mental health had ‘deteriorated.’
Williams had made ‘disparaging comments about gay people’ in the past, the court heard.
Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said the attack was partly caused by his ‘views on homosexuality and Mr Huntley’s appearance and sexual orientation.’
During sentencing, judge Jeremy Donne QC told Williams, ‘On May 28, 2013 you picked up a hammer, went into the bedroom of your sleeping flatmate and brought it down two times on his head.
‘Not only did it fracture his skull but it was embedded in his brain.
‘The injuries suffered by Connor Huntley were little short of catastrophic. They were life changing.
‘He will be never be able to enjoy all the things that young people enjoy doing.’
After an operation to remove the hammer, bone fragments and a blood clot, Huntley suffers from epilepsy and can never live independently.
His family said in a statement, ‘Whilst Connor is making slow but steady progress from this horrific ordeal, we feel he has been handed his own life sentence by this hideous act.
‘No one deserves to be so viciously attacked in such an evil manner, regardless of race, age, gender or sexuality.
‘Whilst we are grateful for all your kind and meaningful get-well wishes, as a family we would ask that you respect ours and Connor’s privacy at this horrendous point in our lives and allow us the time and space to concentrate on Connor’s physical and mental rehabilitation.’